They Way I Spend Money Has An Impact On Me

My parents were born during the depression, uneducated, and they both came from large families with little money. Their way of spending money influenced me to always think twice about purchases. I often recall my mother saying we had to wait, for something we needed, until my father got paid. One main thing, like them, I do not buy anything I cannot pay for at that moment. Live within your means, was/is their motto. This lead me to manage money, and as a result I am proud of my efforts. Proud that I pay for everything on my own, and  live within my means.

I aways had a second job, since I was in college, which was a benefit to my well-being. I think the need to support myself, since I could not depend on my parents, and pay for everything along the way, gave me the motivation to seek a second job. The benefits of doing so, not only helped me save money for the full downpayment for my home, but it also lead to many human service part-time jobs that boosted my resume. These include group home counselor for the mentally ill; assessment of people who got DWI’s; lecturing on alcohol and drugs to these folks, etc. I must say all those lectures primed me to speak in front of others!  In 1988 I started my private psychotherapy practice, which I still do along with paid trainings for social workers, and fee-for service evaluating manuscripts for a publisher. Every semester I teach an extra course, for pay, at the CUNY Graduate Center, and often do a summer session course.  All of these jobs make me happy and satisfied. As for the money, it helps me figure out what purchases I can allow myself to make and feel happy obtaining something new, eating out, socializing, etc. Money can help me make the memories I want to make.

Still today I  watch what I spend. I make it a game. I look for a deal. I try to be a bargain shopper and feel great when it all comes together. I’ll buy a lot of an item when it is on sale. For instance I’ll buy tons of toilet paper. (Hey, $11. for 20 rolls that cost $16. How could I NOT buy 80 rolls when toilet paper is always needed!) Recently cherries, which tend to be expensive-and I pass them by, were only $2.00 a pound. I bought a bunch and froze them! BTW, I have rocks in my toilet tank not only to reduce my water bill, but it is environmentally friendly. Try it.

My clothes are also bargains. Believe it or not, the large Walmart stores have some nice jeans/pants for under $20.00. The other day I wore a $10.00 dress to the college that was a Macy’s mark down from $125. I dye my own hair. Do home repairs as best as I can.  I transfer money into my retirement fund, from every paycheck. That’s so I can make sure I have the joy of spending money later!

Now, don’t go thinking I am a cheap skate. While I am not high maintenance, I do spend money. My dog’s vet bills are high. I knew this going into obtaining the breed (English Bulldog) and I do not regret a penny. My dog is my gift to myself. I will get my nails done. I do take trips. I order out for food. Sometimes I don’t care if I have to pay $40.00 for parking.

So, I feel great when I get a bargain. I feel okay when I ‘throw’ money away (splurging), when I choose.  I think ‘it all evens out in the wash.’ Now, I could be more pro-active, but I don’t want to turn into one of those coupon ladies. Nor do I want to have stress by buying what I can’t afford. Waiting and sacrificing until I have the money is so much easier.  So, how I spend (and save-which I see is a form of spending) can make me content, happy, stress-free and blessed. (Got to go and get some of those cherries out of the freezer. I’m hungry!)

Can Money Buy Happiness

Last week in HUS 1101 we began our “Got Maslow?” list of basic needs. The first was physical needs to survive as a human being. One important component was nourishment for sustaining life. So I ask:  Does having food make one happy (?) Does one need money to obtain food (?) What if one does not have food, nor money (?) Ahhh….

While my thoughts may not exactly follow the article you read in ENG 1101, the concept of money and happiness made me think about the following: If we align money and happiness with basic needs (for well-being) how important is money in obtaining Maslow’s first step of needs (?) Yes, your future clients (aka consumers) can go to a soup kitchen, food pantry, be part of a program that provides meals….or have contact with HUS workers who actually distribute food in public. Alternately, what about those who have to decide whether to pay the rent, electric, medical, etc., versus groceries (?) (BTW, a question mark in parenthesis is a rhetorical question. A question to ponder that does not require an answer by the reader. So, if you are ever writing and use a question mark, be sure to put it in parenthesis-otherwise you are asking the reader/professor to answer your question).

Back to money and happiness. Can one be happy without the money to purchase food (?) If one does not have food, how happy can they be (?) We know infants cry when they are hungry. They usually don’t stop until they are fed. When humans are hungry their survival skills “kick in” and they are on the “hunt” to satisfy their urge. Ever stand in front of the refrigerator and eat to “your heart’s content (?)” This is definitely Maslow in action!

Our goal as HUS workers is to aid consumers to making sure they have the resources. Whether the money to purchase goods is from a paycheck; food stamps; or community based services-funded by the government, grants and donations. So, the moral of this blog is that money can buy food, and food can make one’s tummy happy. At least temporarily.

So what does my blog make you think about?

Prof. Justine Pawlukewicz (Pav-lou-kev-itch)

Introduction: “Getting To Know Me….” Prof Justine Pawlukewicz

2013-09-07 20.27.50 Hi Everyone,

A little about me/introduction:

I’ve been at CityTech since 1997. I started as an adjunct. Simultaneously I supervised an addictions outpatient clinic. In 2001 I finished my doctorate, in social work, and the following year I became a full time professor in the Human Services Dept. So, here I am to stay until I retire, which may be never since I am the type of person that needs to be doing something. Not that I can’t relax and chill, but I like to keep my lifestyle diverse.

I was born in Newark, NJ., but was raised in Perth Amboy, NJ. I now live in Bayonne (near the Statue of Liberty). So, I’ve grown up in urban areas all my life. I happen to be a “Jersey Girl’ from a working class family. I’ve learned to make sure to check out the Dollar Store and Shoprite Can Can Sale. (LOL)

I do like to travel, when I can, and I’ve had some nice experiences: Five weeks in Costa Rica with a family that did not know English; Poland-where my grandparents came from-to Ellis Island, Uk, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, PR, Canada, plenty of islands. My favorite places to return to are St. John’s, in the Caribbean, and Paris. Put them on your ‘Bucket List.”

I hate to exercise, but force myself to bike ride and walk. In Costa Rica I hiked and then jumped off a cliff into a waterfall-NEAT! I felt excited and scared at the same time. When I was younger I water skied, water rafted, canoed, went tubing, camping, zip lining….I’m usually willing to do most things, since I am extroverted.  I’m also Type A personality….meaning I’m organized, dependable, have a good work ethic, need things in order, etc.

I view my social work identity seriously. I try to live what I teach students and clients alike. I feel lucky to be in a profession that asks/requires me to work on myself in terms of always trying to take the ‘high-road.’  For this type of self-awareness opportunity I am blessed.

All the best to you and yours,

Dr. Justine Pawlukewicz (Pav-lou-kev-itch)